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Rear Admiral John S. Martin informs Jack Bradon, commander of the Navy's dirigible fleet, that famous explorer Louis Rondelle is seeking the Navy's help with his expedition to the South Pole. Rondelle wants to use airplanes, but Jack is determined to impress him with the dirigibles, so he and his crews perform a demonstration on Navy Day at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Rondelle is impressed, but the daredevil antics of Lt. Frisky Pierce, an ace airplane pilot who is both Jack's rival and best friend, steal the show. Frisky's celebrating makes him late for dinner with his wife Helen, who is lonely because she spends most of her time alone. Jack is with Helen when Frisky arrives home, and when Jack asks if he wishes to join the Rondelle expedition, Frisky eagerly accepts. Helen overhears and is so distraught at the thought of Frisky leaving again that she begs Jack, who is in love with her, to take Frisky off the roster without letting him know she is responsible. Jack agrees, even though it costs him his friendship with Frisky when he tells Frisky that he cannot go. Jack's dirigible sets off soon after, but is torn apart in a storm. Frisky pilots the lead rescue plane, and after he returns Jack to Washington, D.C., Frisky resigns from the Navy to become Rondelle's partner in a new expedition. Helen writes Frisky a letter, to be opened at the South Pole, stating that she is tired of his treatment of her and is going to divorce him to marry Jack. Frisky takes the letter with him and soon reaches Antarctica. On a clear day, Frisky, Rondelle and their companions, Hansen and Sock McGuire, take off in Frisky's plane to complete the final 900 miles of the trip. Frisky insists on landing once they reach the Pole, but it is too difficult and the plane crashes. Helen and Jack read a newspaper article about the crash, and Helen's hysterical reaction makes Jack realize that she still loves Frisky. The injured explorers begin their torturous march back to camp, but the exertion and cold take their toll on Rondelle, who dies. Back in Washington, Jack convinces Martin to let him take his new dirigible to rescue Frisky. Days later, Frisky must amputate Sock's foot, after which Sock realizes he is a burden on the others and drags himself off into the frozen wasteland. Later, Hansen must lead snow-blind Frisky, but Hansen dies of exhaustion when they arrive back at Rondelle's grave and realize they are lost. Just before Frisky is about to succumb, Jack's dirigible arrives and Frisky is saved. On board the dirigible, when Frisky asks Jack to read him Helen's letter, Jack makes up a loving note of congratulations before he tosses the real letter out the window. They arrive in New York, where a huge parade is thrown for them, and while Jack rides in the parade, Frisky is reunited with Helen, whom he promises never to leave again.